The Veteran Assembly


I went to the elementary school as they were having an assembly to honor veterans. M2 and Little Man were a bit excited after all most days Mom does not come to school. I hate these things I really do. Yes we should honor veterans but no I do not want to be honored. I don’t want anyone looking at me as anything outside of role as Mom.

I am not proud of my service days generally speaking. A lot of really bad garbage has happened over the course of those 23 years and so much of it I like to forget. I am proud of my soldiers and my country but not of myself and most of my superior officers. Originally I was not going to go, I saw the note and put it aside. M1 picked it up and asked me if I was going to attend when I said “no” M2 got really upset. M1 got on the defense to asking why I didn’t tell anyone ever I was in the Army. Why do I insist on not talking about it? Why would I not go? I am tired, I am old and I just don’t want to have to explain it. I only ever say “It is my story to tell if I want to tell” She gets angry and retorts “Yeah but you never do!” I can’t get into it…I just don’t have it in me. But I hate disappointing my kids and both M2 and Little Man are upset. So yep time for big girl pants and off I go.

The kids have to introduce their “special guests” to the school. Little Man and M2 become tongue tied and bury their faces in my leg and chest. I laugh and take the microphone:

“Hi, I am Mom to M2 and Little Man. I served in the Army and was in the operations in Bosnia and Kosovo and also served in the war in Iraq”

The kids clap and I take the kids and go sit down. In all 30 of us, mostly Army. mostly grandparents. 2 from the Korean War, 1 from WWII, 4 from Vietnam, 1 from Desert Storm and of course me from Iraqi Freedom. Only four were woman, 2 Navy, 1 Air Force and of course one Army. I felt like a fraud I really did, I so don’t feel like these other military folks given that I had the “posh job” I spent 23 years writing speeches, investigating suicides and talking to the media, certainly nothing as hard or even worthy of bragging about but yeah someone had to do it.

They sang some sweet songs and then were released back to their classes. M2 hugged me like it was her job. Her teacher came to get her and she smiled from ear to ear and said “My Mum Mum is a vet. I love her” I kissed her on the head and she retorted “Mum mum not in front of my teacher” Oh of course, you are getting too big for that. I hugged Little Man and he skipped off to join his teacher. I start to walk down the hall and I hear someone yelling my name. I turn to see M2’s teacher.

“I never knew you were a veteran. I can’t believe you didn’t mention it. Wow is all I can say and I just want you to know how much I completely respect and appreciate what you did.”

I thank her and go to the van. No I don’t really feel better but it meant a lot to the kids so OK that is a good reason to do it.

So  thank you to all my Veteran friends for your sacrifice and thank you to their families for their support which sustained them during their missions!!!!

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